Batavia, New York - Encyclopedia

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BATAVIA, a village and the county-seat of Genesee county, New York, U.S.A., about 36 m. N.E. of Buffalo, on the Tonawanda Creek. Pop. (1890) 7220; (1900) 9180, of whom 1527 were foreign-born; (1910), 11,613. Batavia is served by the New York Central & Hudson River, the Erie, and the Lehigh Valley railways. It is the seat of the New York State School for the Blind, and of St Joseph's Academy (Roman Catholic), and has'a historical museum, housed in the Old Holland Land Office (1804), containing a large collection of relics of the early days of New York, and a memorial library erected in 1889 in memory of a son by Mary E. Richmond, the widow of Dean Richmond; the building contained in 1908 more than 14,000 volumes. The public schools are excellent; in them in 1898 was introduced by Superintendent John Kennedy the method of individual instruction now known as the "Batavia scheme," under which in rooms of more than fifty pupils there is, besides the class teacher, an "individual" teacher who helps backward children in their studies. Among Batavia's manufactures are harvesters, ploughs, threshers and other agricultural implements, firearms, rubber tires, shoes, shell goods, paper-boxes and inside woodwork. In 1905 the city's factory products were valued at $3,589,406, an increase of 39.5% over their value in 1900. Batavia was laid out in 1801 by Joseph Ellicott (1760-1826), the engineer who had been engaged in surveying the land known as the "Holland Purchase," of which Batavia was a part. The village was incorporated in 1823. Here lived William Morgan, whose supposed murder (1826) by members of the Masonic order led to the organization of the Anti-Masonic party. Batavia was the home during his last years of Dean Richmond (1804-1866), a capitalist, a successful shipper and wholesaler of farm produce, vice-president (1853-1864) and president (1864-1866) of the New York Central railway, and a prominent leader of the Democratic party in New York state.

See O. Turner, History of the Holland Purchase (Buffalo, 1850).

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